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Posts Tagged ‘HSBC’

  1. HSBC has given my blog about a million hits

    May 21, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

    There is one set of posts that immediately leaps to mind when I think about my blog. They date from 2010 and recount the saga of a set of complaints I sent to HSBC about their fraud prevention policies and customer service. Even today, almost three years later, they still get more hits than any other posts on my blog, and have slowly accumulated more and more comments from people with experiences similar to my own.

    My protracted argument with HSBC, and the subsequent £100 that they gave me to shut me up, marked the start of me being a much more assertive consumer, and one who is much more willing to take their custom elsewhere if a company behaves badly.

    The posts are a bit long, because they recount my and HSBC’s correspondence in full, but they are fairly entertaining, and I’m still quite proud of the fact that I didn’t give up and eventually managed to corner them into accepting they had done wrong. So if you have a spare ten minutes or so, give them a read.

    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus

    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 2, they may now insert the pot as well

    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in

    Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter

  2. Further adventures of superlaportas

    June 14, 2011 by superlative

    That word is meant to be a combination of superlative and Mary Portas, in case you were wondering. Now that I’ve written it, it looks more like the name of company selling porta-loos.


    A while ago I wrote a post about how I have become more active in complaining when companies do things that I do not like. This was inspired in part by Mary Portas saying that it is the duty of a consumer to complain if a company does not provide a satisfactory service, and ultimately that you should take your custom elsewhere rather than put up with it. Putting up with it simply rewards their bad behaviour, inflicts it on more people as you continue to provide them with profit, and is very unfulfilling for the maltreated consumer.

    The post I wrote in March concerned TalkTalk, and their hideous marketing tactics and intrusive phone calls. I don’t think I ever posted a follow up to it, but essentially my complaint was not well handled by them, and then they unceremoniously and unilaterally ‘considered the matter closed’.

    I certainly did not consider it closed, and so after a bit of a delay I finally got around to cancelling my account with them and setting up a new broadband and phone account with Plusnet. Ironically, the cancellations department at TalkTalk have so far been very polite and efficient; it’s a shame the same service levels aren’t apparent in the rest of the company.

    Plusnet have been very good so far, and the transfer has happened very smoothly. It’s early days, but at the moment I am pleased. More than that though, it is a much more satisfying feeling to know that I have taken my business away from TalkTalk and punished them in the only way really that a consumer can.

    I think part of the problem with certain services is that it feels like it is just too much hassle to switch. Banks, telecommunications, utilities – all those things where you have an account and you need a continuous service. These are the companies we just put up with, and who merrily generate millions of pounds in profit each year while providing a rubbish service.

    What I have learnt though is that switching actually isn’t that bad. In the past year I have changed bank and I have changed telephone company. I have also moved my savings around to a completely different bank, to make sure I get the best rate I can. Each one involved a bit of work, but not as much as you might think, and the end result has been very beneficial to me. Banks and phone companies seem to be legally obliged to facilitate you switching, presumably as a result of competition legislation. And naturally the company you are switching too is only too pleased to have you, and will often try to help with the legwork. In particularly, I’d always imagined changing bank would be a nightmare; in reality I hardly had to do anything at all, as everything transferred automatically.

    So the lesson I have learnt is if you are not happy, complain. If you’re still not happy, go elsewhere. It’s really not as bad as you think, and you get a wonderful feeling of liberation afterwards.

    We can all learn a lot from Mary Portas. Just don’t go too far and adopt the ginger fringe.

  3. Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter

    November 16, 2010 by superlative

    My three month saga of complaining to HSBC and bad-mouthing them to anyone who will listen would appear to be coming to a close. You can read my previous posts about it, if you’re feeling masochistic, in chronological order here, here and here.

    At the weekend I received the bank’s official Final Response from someone who purports to be the/a manager in the customer relations department, i.e. not from some dipshit belonging to the Fraud Detection Team based in India who basically don’t give a fuck.

    It has been a long hard slog of refusing to accept their useless, contradictory, misleading replies and persisting in complaining more loudly at each step of the way. But I have finally had a response from them that a) fully addresses the detailed complaint letters I have been sending them without sidestepping the harder-to-explain-because-you’re-basically-liars issues; and b) doesn’t leave me feeling like I want to explode with rage.

    I still think it is appalling that I have had to write to them three times before getting a satisfactory response, or even a response that made sense and didn’t make matters worse. Their customer service has been completely reprehensible. They should have nipped this in the bud much earlier on, but they clearly didn’t realise how much energy I was prepared to devote to going on at them.

    I am going painstakingly to type out the full text of their reply below, but by all means skip it if you can’t be bothered. I’m only doing it because I vowed to publish all parts of my correspondence with them on here, and because like that old baggage in Nanny McPhee I never, ever break my word (although I actually do, all the time in fact, you should check out my marriage vows, they’re in more tatters than Paris Hilton’s knickers).

    The short version of their reply, for your convenience if you don’t want to read it all is:

    • they have accepted that the Fraud Detection Team gave me contradictory, misleading and incorrect information.
    • while they don’t accept that the Fraud Detection Team intentionally lied to me (they so did though), they can see why it may seem that way to me.
    • they have admitted that the Fraud Detection Team do not know exactly how a customer’s card was compromised (i.e. when they say the police have found your number on a list of copied card numbers, they don’t actually know this is true; it is just one of a few different scenarios that are possible reasons for your card being flagged. They pick the scariest one in order to scare you so you’ll let them cancel the card).
    • in the spirit of conciliation, and acknowledging that I have never actually asked for any compensation, they want to give me ONE HUNDRED ENGLISH FUCKING POUNDS to reflect the ‘frustration’ I have been caused.

    So yay! The moral of the story is: DON’T BELIEVE what the Fraud Protection Dickwads tell you (as I’ve always maintained), and COMPLAIN COMPLAIN COMPLAIN because eventually they’ll give you money to shut you up. I never expected to get any cash for this, I’ve been inconvenienced and annoyed but never actually lost any money, so it hadn’t even occurred to me. But because they want to resolve the complaint and because they know £100 is a lot of money to most people, they dangle it in front of you on condition that you accept the matter is now closed.

    My only alternative if I wanted to pursue the complaint further is to take it to the financial ombudsman, which I think HSBC would rather avoid because it doesn’t make them look very good. The ombudsman has no power to fine or sanction the bank though, or to make them pay me anything beyond money I’ve lost as a result of their actions, so I really don’t see the point in going through that whole process now. My aim throughout this has been to highlight how rubbish their policies are, and how terrible their Fraud Detection Cuntbiscuits are at dealing with customers. It took a LONG time just to get the complaint escalated beyond the Fraud Detection Department, but I feel much more satisfied now that someone in that big HSBC building in Canada Square has read my complaint, spent weeks compiling all the details (he really has, you can tell), and has sent me back a proper, measured response.

    So yay me, yay for the cactus, and yay for free money. And I’ve already changed bank now anyway, so they can’t do it to me any more. So fuck you, HSBC.

    Herewith, their letter which you don’t have to read. I’m off to do an I’ve-Got-£100 dance.

    — Letter follows. Comments in caps are my own —

    I write from HSBC Customer Relations Department with regard to your ongoing complaint about the bank’s fraud prevention procedures, as they have applied to your accounts.

    At HSBC we like to resolve complaints quickly and efficiently, ideally at the first point of contact. I regret that on this occasion, despite the best efforts of my colleagues based in our Fraud Prevention Team (BEST EFFORTS? HAHAHAHA!), you remain dissatisfied with the bank’s overall response to date.

    As such, in accordance with our internal complaint handling procedures, the matter has been passed to this office for review. I write this letter, the bank’s final response in the matter, with the aim of clarifying our position and setting out your entitlements vis-à-vis the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

    Thank you for your email to HSBC Service Quality, dated 20 September 2010; it is clear that we have not provided a satisfactory response to the points you have raised.

    Unfortunately, my colleagues in the Fraud Detection Team have provided you with some incorrect information regarding the compromise of your card and for this I apologise.

    To explain, as an organisation, we receive information regarding card compromises from various sources and it is this which has led to the inconsistent information you have been provided (THAT AND THE FACT YOUR STAFF ARE LIARS).

    We are not able to circulate widely the specific information regarding the card compromise because, as previously informed, this information is highly restricted so we do not jeopardise any ongoing investigations. (CONVENIENT)

    I can confirm that fraudsters do on occasion use ‘random number generation’ to obtain card details, however due to enhancements in the authorisation system and our fraud strategies, fraudsters are now significantly less successful using this technique.

    Unfortunately, with the information available to them, operatives based within our Fraud Detection Team are unable to determine exactly how a card could have been compromised. Nonetheless, I can tell you this could have taken place through a variety of channels, for example malware attacks, a data hack into a retailer’s computer or through a collusive member of staff working for a legitimate retailer.

    When we receive information regarding compromised cards we prefer not to cancel the cards immediately as we cannot be sure they will be used fraudulently. To provide a better service (HA!) and have less of an impact on our customers (HA!), we find it more effective to ‘mark’ the accounts in order to monitor the spending on these cards and to highlight any suspicious usage on the account. The card details may not be used fraudulently immediately but there is still a risk that the card can be used fraudulently in future.

    As such, once an account has been highlighted to our Fraud Detection Department due to suspicious usage, we take the opportunity to cancel and replace the card as a precaution.

    We do provide the Fraud Detection Team with regular training in order to help them deal with this type of call but unfortunately, some of the team may have inadvertently (YEAH RIGHT) provided incorrect information to customers whilst attempting to explain what has happened to their card.

    I do not think the Fraud Detection Team intentionally lied to you, however, I can understand that it may seem this way when you are given conflicting information from different team members regarding the compromise of your card. I have therefore arranged that appropriate feedback be given to the staff members involved in order to prevent any repeat occurrences in future.

    The Fraud Detection calls in question have been reviewed, and I can confirm that when you spoke to my colleague on 2 August she cancelled and replaced your debit card due to the presence of the marker. She also checked to make sure the credit card was available to use but unfortunately there was also a marker on this card which may have prevented you from using the card. (<- THIS DOESN’T ACTUALLY ADDRESS HOW THIS CARD COULD HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED WHEN I NEVER USE IT)

    As your debit card had already been cancelled you were offered a marker that would have restricted the use on the card but still allowed you to use the card until the new debit card had been received. I apologise if you feel the operator was being ‘malicious’ in dealing with both cards at the same time but, from the recording of the call, it seemed that it was her intention to appear helpful by doing this. (CANCELLING BOTH CARDS AT THE SAME TIME, ELIMINATING ALL ACCESS TO MY MONEY = VERY HELPFUL THANKS)

    Unfortunately, as there are various ways in which card details can be compromised, I cannot provide specific instructions to stop this happening again in future.

    Having said that, there are things you can do to minimise the risk of this happening again. Please allow me to set out some proven tips on how cardholders can safeguard themselves from fraudsters.

    • If you are travelling abroad, we would like to know your travel plans so please contact us. This will allow us to update our Fraud Detection Systems, which will significantly reduce the possibility of inconvenience to you when using your card(s) abroad.
    • When using your card be aware of people around you. Always use your hand to shield your PIN to make sure your PIN remains private.
    • Never disclose your PIN when ordering by phone, mail-order or online. The only person that should know your PIN is you.
    • Never divulge your HSBC telephone security number to anyone calling you, even if they claim to be HSBC staff or a Police Officer. HSBC will only use this code to identify you when you call us. (THE FRAUD TEAM HAVE ASKED ME FOR THIS BEFORE WHEN THEY HAVE CALLED ME THOUGH, BECAUSE THEY ARE IDIOTS).
    • Shred all documents that contain sensitive information such as name, address, date of birth, etc. to help prevent identity theft.
    • Avoid spam emails and pop ups. See if you can select a filter option on your PC or if you can upgrade to a newer version which does. (YAWN)
    • Download your free security software to safeguard your PC from the risk of infection from viruses by clicking on the free Rapport security link from our website. (THIS ISN’T WHAT RAPPORT DOES)
    • Only access personal internet banking or shopping sites by typing in a web address. Never use a link from an e-mail.
    • Block unwanted spam as this will also block most phishing emails.
    • Register for Verified by Visa to make your online payments more secure.
    • Is there an “s” after “http” in the address box? If URL begins with https, the chances are it’s a secure site.
    • Look for the padlock symbol in the browser window as you proceed to payment.

    For further information on how you can protect yourself from fraud please go to our website and follow the Security links.

    I am sorry to hear of your concerns; you have been a valued customer of the bank – our systems indicate that you have held accounts with the organisation since 1993 – and I would like the opportunity to restore your faith in the bank in the future.

    As such, although I understand that you have not in fact requested any form of financial compensation in respect of this matter, the bank will offer £100.00 to reflect the frustration caused by the incorrect information you had previously been given. This offer is made, in order to bring matters to a final conclusion, and I do hope that this offer will be viewed in the conciliatory spirit it is intended.

    To denote your acceptance of the bank’s offer, please sign and return the attached declaration in the prepaid envelope provided. On receipt of this, I will arrange for your account to be credited.

    Alternatively, should you continue to consider that the bank has not responded fairly to your complaint, I am now formally obliged to inform you that, you do now have the right to refer your complaint to the FOS.  Should this course of action indeed prove necessary, I will confirm that the bank will co-operate fully with the investigation and be guided by any ultimate Ombudsman adjudication.

    Thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to the bank’s attention.  I am only sorry that it was necessary for you to do so.

    — Letter ends. Insert KA-CHING noise and modest shower of money —


    Other posts on this topic:
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 2, they may now insert the pot as well
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in

  4. Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in

    September 20, 2010 by superlative

    This post follows on from my previous blog post on why I now hate HSBC and their fraud prevention policies, and the subsequent post where I published their reply and my second complaint.

    I realise that this saga is going on a bit now, so by all means skip this post if you aren’t interested. However, I intend to continue publishing my correspondence with HSBC on here, partly to highlight the general shittiness of their behaviour, and partly in case anyone has a similar experience to me and finds this blog via a search engine. The bank’s power lies in the fact that people will general believe what they tell them, when it fact it is all a pack of fucking lies, and the more people are able to pull them up on it the better.

    So, having read my second post I can tell you that their most recent reply was equally ridiculous, insulting and misleading. The full text of it is below, followed by my (lengthy) unpicking of all the idiotic things they have said to me.

    — Reply from HSBC —

    I write further to your recent e-mail regarding your on- going complaint. This has given me the opportunity to re- visit your complaint and this e-mail confirms my findings.

    At the outset, please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.

    Please allow me to make the following observations to put your complaint into context and bring matters to a conclusion.

    HSBC had received notification from another financial institution that your Visa debit card may have been compromised. As a result, the transaction attempted on 2 August 2010 was declined. I would like to inform you that there was no manual security block placed on your card and the transaction was declined as it breached security parameters within our fraud detection system.

    Later that day our staff member contacted you and informed you of the fraud risk on your card. Our representative also advised you that the only solution to eliminate the fraud risk from the card was to stop it and reissue a new card for you.

    I understand that your credit card has to be stopped for similar reasons and I can appreciate your concern in relation to this incident. For this, I am truly sorry. I would like to state that the Fraud Prevention Department does not have direct control over illegal actions taken by third parties acting on a fraudulent basis (<- FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, YOU LITTLE SHIT. YES I ADDED THIS BIT MYSELF, THIS ISN’T HSBC TALKING). Nevertheless, we strive to keep fraud to a minimum by conducting security checks (<- AND FUCK YOUR MOTHER TOO).

    Please note that at HSBC we aim to contact our customer as soon as possible. With the number of cards in circulation it is not always possible for us to contact our customers as soon as the transactions are attempted or any intelligence markers placed on the cards. However, I would like to advise you that our system continues to monitor the card activity and does flag up any suspicious activity, if not prompt for a security check.

    One aspect especially clear from your email is that you do not consider that we have provided an adequate explanation for originally placing the anti-fraud marker on the card. Our fraud intelligence unit had received information that led us to believe that there was a high risk that your card could be compromised for fraudulent purposes.

    I acknowledge inconvenience you have been caused. Clearly the problems with the cards were poorly timed. However, I will emphasise here that, while you were clearly inconvenienced by the fraud protection measures that we took, there is a fine line we must tread between ensuring that we maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and taking all possible steps to minimise the risk of fraud- related loss on our customers accounts (<- I THINK YOU TOOK A SHIT ALL OVER THAT FINE LINE, PAL).

    Please accept my extended apologies for the embarrassment and inconvenience you have clearly been caused.

    I trust that matters have now been resolved to your satisfaction. If this is not the case, you can escalate your concerns by writing to the Senior Manager of our Service Quality Team.

    I am obliged to inform you that complaints we cannot resolve can ultimately be referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service. However, if we do not hear from you within the next eight weeks, we will consider matter s resolved.

    Thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to our attention. I am only sorry it was necessary for you to do so.

    — My reply, sent this afternoon —

    Despite having previously requested that my complaint be escalated beyond your Fraud Detection Team, I have received a further unsatisfactory response from them and feel obliged to complain yet again about the terrible service I have received from this department over the past two years.

    On Wednesday 15 September 2010 I received my latest response from the Fraud Detection Team. As with their previous response to my complaint, it is entirely unacceptable to me, and indeed raises even more issues for complaint than I had in the first place.

    Their reply is unacceptable to me for the following reasons:

    Repeated misleading and contradictory information
    On the numerous occasions when my debit card has been cancelled at no notice and with no apology, I have been repeatedly told on the telephone (and I quote verbatim) “We have received information from the police that your card is on a list of card numbers that have been copied, and so we need to cancel your card and issue a new one.” The calls always come immediately after a failed online transaction, but on each occasion I am told that this is purely coincidental.

    In the initial response to my complaint from the Fraud Detection Team, this was modified to “When we receive information that a card may have been compromised, we place a marker on the card to monitor the situation. We will only contact our customers when we have confirmed fraud or when the marker is having an impact on the customer using the card.”

    In other words, when I have been told that it is purely coincidental that they should call me immediately after a failed online transaction, this is, in fact, a lie. This is the first example of the Fraud Detection Team saying anything on the telephone regardless of its veracity in order to persuade a customer to let them cancel their card.

    In my most recent response from the team, the information has changed again, this time into “HSBC had received notification from another financial institution that your Visa debit card may have been compromised” (underlining is my own).

    This contradicts previous assertions that it was the police that had contacted the bank regarding my card, and that my card details had definitely been compromised, and is a second example of the lies told to customers by the Fraud Detection Team.

    These statements cannot all be true; they are contradictory and misleading, and the fact that HSBC treats customers in this way is absolutely unacceptable.

    I have always maintained, and remain convinced, that at no time have my card details actually been compromised. No fraudulent transactions have ever been made on my cards. Each time this occurs, it is clear to me that in reality all that is happening is the online transaction I was attempting to make was identified as possibly fraudulent by whatever automated monitoring system HSBC employs.

    As I have stated in my previous complaints, I do not have an issue with this. Furthermore I would have no issue with a representative from HSBC calling me to ask whether the attempted transaction had been made by me; this would allow me to confirm that it was indeed me, and I could then proceed with my transaction unencumbered and safe in the knowledge that HSBC takes a pro-active approach to fraud prevention.

    However, your policy appears to be that should a payment be flagged as suspicious, the card should be immediately cancelled. The inconvenience caused to your customers is deemed insignificant, no apology is offered at the time of cancellation or indeed after a customer has complained about it, and worse than all this, your staff actively mislead and lie to customers in order to complete the process.

    I repeat that this is absolutely unacceptable.

    Failure to address my complaint fully or to explain further misleading information
    1) I asked previously for my complaint to be escalated beyond the Fraud Detection Team. It was not.

    2) When I have asked on the telephone for guidance on how to prevent my cards being compromised in the future, I have been told flatly that they have no further information to give me. When I included this in my previous complaint, this section of the complaint was entirely ignored in the team’s response. As I stated in my last complaint, you seem to believe that cancelling cards retroactively is a more effective way of combating fraud than helping your customers avoid fraud in the first place. This may be more convenient for you, but it is certainly not more convenient for your customers, particularly when I remain unconvinced that my cards were ever compromised in the first place.

    3) During one of my telephone conversations with the Fraud Detection Team, I pointed out that it seemed unlikely to me that my credit card could suddenly have been compromised when I had not used it for nearly five months. Your representative then made the bizarre assertion that my credit card may have been copied by random number generation. In my last complaint I pointed out that this seems mathematically improbable to me, as it would involve randomly generating my card number, plus the corresponding start and end date, plus the card security code. This part of my complaint was also ignored, in my view because this is another example of the Fraud Detection Team saying anything on the telephone, including bare-faced lying, to make a customer agree to the cancellation of the card. They ignored this aspect of my complaint because there is no reasonable way to explain how random number generation could have compromised the card. It is simply another lie, and I am consequently unable to believe anything further that I am told by the Fraud Detection Team. That I feel unable to trust the information I am given by my bank is deeply shocking.

    Although in their latest response the team have finally managed to apologise for the repeated inconvenience I have been caused, the rest of their reply is entirely unacceptable to me. They even thought to include the rather insulting statement that “the Fraud Prevention Department does not have direct control over illegal actions taken by third parties acting on a fraudulent basis”, in case they had not already annoyed me quite enough.

    All aspects of my communications with the Fraud Detection Team have been intentionally misleading, and the fundamental point of my complaint, namely that your anti-fraud procedures are deeply flawed and your customer service woefully inadequate, has been ignored.

    The matter has not been resolved to my satisfaction, and I look forward to a response from someone not in the Fraud Detection Team that addresses all aspects of this complaint in full.

    — end of reply —

    They’re fucking idiots! They just lie and lie and lie, and they don’t care. It isn’t going to affect me in future as I’ve already changed banks, but I’m not going to stop going on at them, and I’m going to tell as many people as possible that this is what they do.

    Of course people have no reason to distrust them when they call you and say “the police have told us your card has been copied”.

    “Oo,” you think, “they must have found my details on some criminal’s laptop or something.”

    Don’t fucking believe them! It’s a lie, a complete lie, and they don’t need to cancel your card.

    Unfortunately for them, I have a lot of time on my hands, I’m really really stubborn, and I bear a grudge like you wouldn’t believe. I’ll let you know if and when they send me another dickless response.


    Other posts on this topic:
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 2, they may now insert the pot as well
    Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter

  5. Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 2, they may now insert the pot as well

    September 8, 2010 by superlative

    If you haven’t read my previous blog post on why I now hate HSBC and their fraud prevention policies, go read it or none of this will make sense.

    I finally got around to complaining to HSBC last week. Rather than write up a whole new letter, I basically just sent them the text of the above blog post with the swear words taken out and a ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ at the beginning.

    They managed to reply to me this morning, and I am shocked SHOCKED I tell you that their response seems to me to confirm that they do actually lie to their customers when they call them to cancel their cards, and that the cancellation of my cards previously was pretty much as needless as I always suspected it to be.

    I’m publishing the text of their response and the reply I’ve just sent them below.

    — Reply from HSBC —

    Thank you for highlighting the problems you have encountered with the closure of your debit card recently.

    HSBC had received confidential information that your debit card could be compromised for fraudulent purposes. As you may be aware, fraud intelligence is highly confidential and sensitive information. I should perhaps clarify that details of the information received or its source are confidential and will not be passed on to our customers.

    I would like to inform you that the points of compromise can be any where, for example, ATM, retailer, on-line / telephone or as a result of data theft. Due to the sensitive nature of the fraud prevention process and potential ongoing investigation that are being carried out by law enforcement agencies and other financial institutions, it is not possible to advise why his card was identified to us as being high risk from fraud.

    As a result, the attempted transaction breached security parameters within our fraud prevention system. On the same day our representative contacted you and made you aware of the inherent risk of fraudulent usage on the card. You were also advised that as a precautionary measure it is HSBC s policy to close the card account and issue you with a new card and number. Following your conversation with our staff member your existing debit card was stopped and a new card was ordered for you.

    During your conversation with the Fraud Detection Team your credit card details were reviewed and you were advised that your credit card had to be closed on precaution. I understand from your comments that you are unhappy that you did not receive information from the Fraud Detection Team pertaining to the issues with the credit card.

    When we receive information that a card may have been compromised, we place a marker on the card to monitor the situation. We will only contact our customers when we have confirmed fraud or when the marker is having an impact on the customer using the card.

    I would like to assure you that your credit worthiness was never in question and this action was purely intended to protect the available funds in your account.

    — My reply, sent this morning —

    Your reply is unacceptable to me for a number of reasons.

    1) You offer no apology at all for the inconvenience that your policies have repeatedly caused me, and you fail even to acknowledge that any inconvenience was caused.

    2) You state that “When we receive information that a card may have been compromised, we place a marker on the card to monitor the situation. We will only contact our customers when we have confirmed fraud or when the marker is having an impact on the customer using the card.”

    This confirms that when I have been told by you that it is purely coincidental that you should call me immediately after a failed online transaction, this is, in fact, a lie. The failed transaction has conflicted with the marker placed on the card, causing you to call me and cancel it.  That you should confirm that you lie to your customers in this way is shocking and unacceptable.

    Furthermore, in my case there has never been confirmed fraud on my card. You were happy for me to continue using the card until I made a payment that conflicted with the marker, but I confirmed that this payment was not fraudulent. Therefore nothing had changed, no actual fraud had been detected, and I see no reason why my card should have been cancelled once I confirmed that the attempted payment was genuine.

    3) You do not address the bizarre assertion that my credit card may have been copied by random number generation, which seems mathematically improbable. No fraud has been attempted on my credit card, nor has any marker placed on it affected my use of the card until I spoke to you. Even by your own description of your procedures above, I see no reason why you should have requested to cancel my credit card at the same time as my debit card.

    4) You do not explain your policy of offering your customers no guidance on how to prevent copying of their card details in future. You seem to believe that cancelling cards retroactively is a more effective way of combating fraud, rather than helping your customers avoid fraud in the first place, although I repeat that I have never actually been a victim of fraud anyway. This may be more convenient for you, but it is certainly not more convenient for your customers.

    Your entire response confirms to me that you are happy to lie to your customers, that any inconvenience caused to your customers is irrelevant to you, and that your procedures lack a logical foundation. The fact that you do not even apologise for any of this is appalling, and I would like my complaint escalated beyond your department as you are clearly not able to deal with it in a satisfactory manner. If and when you wish to respond to me, you may do so in writing.

    — end of reply —
    I can’t believe that they didn’t even fucking apologise! I thought they would at least say “we are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you; our primary interest is protecting you from fraud” or at least SOMETHING like that, but no. They’ve just said “This is our policy; we don’t care that it’s inconvenient to you; we don’t care that we just tell you any old thing on the phone so you’ll let us cancel the card; we’re not sorry”.

    It’s fucking RIDICULOUS. If I hadn’t already changed bank I certainly would do so now. I don’t know what on earth they think they’re doing, or how they think that’s an appropriate way to respond to a complaint.



    Other posts on this topic:
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in
    Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter

  6. Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus

    August 4, 2010 by superlative

    I have been a customer of HSBC since I was 13 years old. They got me young by coming into our school one week to offer us Livecash accounts, and by wooing us with Midland Bank-branded holdalls and books of discount vouchers. God knows why I wanted the holdall, it’s absolutely hideous and is still lurking in a cupboard at my parents’ house, but want it I did and so I signed up.

    I was with HSBC through getting my first job, opening my first proper savings account, all through university and into the start of my working life. I always imagined I would stay with them forever, and quite possibly end up with a mortgage from them at some point.

    But now I hate them. I hate them hate them HATE THEM and so I’m leaving.

    FOUR TIMES in two years my cards have been blocked and then cancelled by their Fraud Prevention team. FOUR. And every time I am without cards and acceptable access to my money for at least a week. Do they apologise for the inconvenience? No. Do they offer a satisfactory explanation for why they are cancelling my cards? No. Do I even believe the explanation they offer? No. Have I ever been a victim of card fraud and had unauthorised payments made on my card? NO.

    The pattern of their decision to cancel my cards is always the same, and yet they deny there is a pattern at all, even though it is completely obvious that there is.

    It works like this:

    • I try to make a payment using my card online, on a website I haven’t used before.
    • The payment is rejected.
    • Within two to five minutes my mobile starts ringing, and I pick up the phone to find a nice lady in India asking me if she can speak to [insert full name that no one apart from my bank ever uses]
    • She says “We have received information from the police that your card is on a list of card numbers that have been copied, and so we need to cancel your cards and issue new ones”.

    “Does this have anything to do with the payment I just tried to put through online?” I say. “Because that’s fine, that was me.”

    “No, this is unrelated to that. That must just be coincidence.”

    “Really? Because that’s what you said last time as well. In fact you’ve said that four times to me: no, it’s just a coincidence that we happen to have called you moments after a failed transaction. So that’s four coincidences in two years?”


    “What makes you think my card has been copied?”

    (reads out her bit of script again) “We have received information from the police that your card number is on a list of cards that have been copied.”

    “When and where was this?”

    “I can’t tell you that. It might jeopardise any investigation into the fraud.”

    “Can you tell me what I can do, how I can change my behaviour in future, so that this doesn’t keep happening?”


    ARRRRRGH! And usually they just cancel the debit card, but this time oh no, stupid me I ask if I’ll still be able to use my credit card while they replace the debit card.

    “Just let me check that. Oh, it looks like we’ve received information about this card as well. We’ll have to cancel that too.”

    “But no one has called me about that, why have you only just realised you’ve received information?”

    “We work on a queue, they probably just haven’t got to you yet.”

    “But I hardly ever use that card. The last time I used it was in April. How can it have been copied since then, and yet no fraudulent transactions have been made on it, and you haven’t asked to cancel it?”

    “They might not have copied it in April, they use random number generation to get hold of people’s card numbers.”

    REALLY? They randomly generate the numbers do they? Why yes, I can see that you can generate a list of all the 16-digit numbers that exist, even I could do that, but to generate matching start and expiry dates and the security code off the back? They just do that randomly? In which case, doesn’t that mean that EVERYONE’S CARD is always in a state of having been copied ALL THE FUCKING TIME and therefore every card should be cancelled and replaced?

    I actually think the bitch only cancelled my credit card because I argued the toss with her for so long about the debit card, and so she decided to stick the boot in.

    I don’t mind them taking a pro-active approach to fighting fraud, but cancelling my cards FOUR TIMES in two years is fucking ridiculous. I have no cards now, apart from the lameass card for my savings account that will let me take cash out, and it’ll take “5-10 working days”, i.e. more than a week for me to get new ones. And I’ll have to go to the branch to get them, because of course you are expected to be at home waiting helpfully with your passport in your hand for the next week and a half to take delivery of your cards.

    And do they apologise for that? No. And the fact is I just don’t believe them any more. If something about my online payment was flagged as suspicious, fine. Absolutely fine. Phone me, say “Did you just try to make this payment?”, I’ll say yes, and that’s fine. That’s good even! But phone me, lie to me, and cancel my cards every fucking time is just unacceptable.

    Yes I know that every other bank might be just the same, but I haven’t heard of other people complaining of this all the time, and even if they are the same they can’t be any worse than HSBC for it.

    And at least the bank I’m switching to has UK-based call centres, so I won’t have to have stilted and annoying conversations with people whose accents mean you have to listen really absurdly attentively so you can understasnd them and with two second pauses between each sentence while you wait for the delay on the line to catch up.

    So yes, I’m switching. I’m livid and I’m switching, and I’m doing it while I’m still angry so that I actually get on and do it and don’t just live with their shitty customer service. I hope when they realise I’m taking all my banking elsewhere, including my savings account and credit card, someone from their cancellations team will ring up to try to persuade me not to so I can tell them exactly why I’m leaving, and why they can shove their services up their arse next to the big spikey HIV-infected cactus that I’ve bought them.


    Other posts on this topic:
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 2, they may now insert the pot as well
    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in
    Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter